Sunday, March 16, 2008

Books Don't Sell Themselves

© Sia McKye 2008 all rights reserved

I need to stress to all authors that books don’t sell themselves. If you’re tracking your sales on Amazon, or on sales reports from you publisher, you’re realizing that now.

You’re published and that’s a heady feeling, but now you need to be working just as hard on selling them—and yourself— as you did on the writing and editing. You’re not done. I realize that everyone has another life aside from your writing. I also realize you want to use your spare time to continue writing. If you’re not putting any effort into promoting yourself and gaining name recognition, where is your market? Your reader base? Without a reader base, what’s the point of all the work involved in writing and publishing that writing?

A few questions to consider: Do you have your website up? Are you blogging? Are you utilizing many of the Internet options, social networks such as Facebook, Gather, Twitter, MySpace, and a host of others? In other words, are you building an Internet presence? You also need to physically make yourself known as an author. Are you contacting people locally? Local bookstores, libraries, local author groups, book clubs, newspapers, and radio to publicize yourself as an author and your book? Locally, you have an ‘in’. Use it.

Traditional publishers expect their authors to spend at least three months prior to publication and two or more months after publication on book publicity and promotion. If you’re published with a smaller independent press or POD press, it’s even more vital to be working to promote yourself as an author and a person. In other words, name recognition. Notice I didn’t say a book. The intent is to draw readers to you. You cannot accomplish that by beating them over the head with a book. As an author you are more than a book. People, as a rule, don’t like a hard sell. You want to draw readers to all the work you’ve created. Each successful sale of your newest release can create an interest in your backlist and anticipation for your next book.

I won’t kid you, promotion requires commitment and a lot of time. You need to be organized and set aside blocks of time to do this. It also means stepping out of your comfort zone to do it. Bottom line here is this is your business, your product that is debuting. Your books/product will only be as good as the effort after the writing to get attention for you and your books. Keep that in mind.

Even if bookstores do carry your books, what separates you from all the other authors out there? You need name recognition and a reader base. You have to build that with well-crafted stories and by advertising yourself.

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About our guest:

I'm married to a spitzy Italian. We have a ranch out beyond the back 40 where I raise kids, dogs, horses, cats, and have been known to raise a bit of hell, now and then. I have a good sense of humor and am an observer of life and a bit of a philosopher. I see the nuances—they intrigue me.I’m a Marketing Rep by profession and a creative writer. I have written several mainstream Romance novels one of which I’ve out on a partial request. I’ve written and published various articles on Promotion and Publicity, Marketing, Writing, and the Publishing industry.Aside from conducting various writing discussions and doing numerous guest blogging engagements, I write a blog, Over Coffee, Each week I promote and share authors’ stories, on the laughter, glitches, triumphs, and fun that writers and authors face in pursuit of their ambition to write—Over Coffee.

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